Associated Press: “Election offices have been understaffed for years. But 2020 was a tipping point, with all the pandemic-related challenges before the presidential vote and the hostility afterward driven by false claims of a stolen election.”
“A wave of retirements and resignations has followed, creating a vacuum of institutional knowledge across the country. Experts in the field say widespread inexperience creates risk in an environment where the slightest mistake related to voting or ballot counting can be twisted by conspiracy theorists i nto a nefarious plot to subvert the vote.”
“Battleground Senate Democrats are weighing a break with President Joe Biden on both border security and Iran — just as the two political issues move to the front of the upper chamber’s agenda,” Politico reports.
“In interviews, a trio of Democratic senators from GOP states, all of whom are up for reelection next year, criticized Biden’s handling of the border and indicated they are considering signing onto Republican-pushed legislation to freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets. Centrist Democrats had already quickly coalesced behind calling on Biden to stop that money to Iran — legislation would be the next level.”
“Senate Democrats can only afford to lose one seat next year and still keep their majority. So while senators might typically face significant heat to back party priorities, Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are instead free to chart their own course.”
“The Biden campaign has drawn up options for expanding its unconventional $25 million early advertising effort this year, as the president continues to express frustration in private conversations about the state of his polling in battleground states, according to people familiar with the discussions,” the Washington Post reports.
“Biden signed off on the initial fall television and digital campaign despite concerns from some advisers who feel the money could be better allocated for other priorities like building out staff sooner or building cash reserves. Other Democrats continue to question whether the upbeat sales pitch in some Biden ads fails to reflect the economic realities of voters.”
“Biden’s top advisers, by contrast, remain united on the strategy and are pleased by the early responses to the ads among key targeted groups, despite little immediate movement in the polls. They dismiss the criticism as typical Democratic bed-wetting, which they argue was proved wrong in 2022 when Democrats led by Biden outperformed expectations in the midterm elections. Decisions on any additions to the advertising budget are expected to come in the coming weeks.”
Politico: “[California Governor Gavin Newsom]’s trip to China this week, where he’ll focus almost exclusively on climate change, cements his evolution into a full-blown climate champion. It follows his lawsuit against oil conglomerates and a spate of bill signings that increase costs and environmental restrictions on oil companies.”
Daily Beast: “The GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in Kentucky — state Attorney General Daniel Cameron — ran public service announcements at a conspicuous time. Google said they were political ads, not PSAs.”
Playbook: “We are 85 days away from the Iowa caucuses, and unfortunately for nearly every single Republican candidate not named Donald Trump, the fundamentals of the race haven’t really budged.”
“The GOP base is still largely with the former president. His legal troubles aren’t sending party leaders — or, for that matter, primary voters — running away from him. And his opponents’ campaigns are doing little to inspire confidence that they’ll be able to eke out a win.”
Celeste Maloy (R), who is running in the special election to replace Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), is first cousins with Ammon Bundy, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Her uncle is anti-government extremist Cliven Bundy.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is running low on cash for his miserable 2024 presidential campaign, so he’s relying on his super PAC Never Back Down to pay for his private air travel, testing the limits of campaign finance law.
85% of voters say they are concerned that the war between Israel and Hamas will escalate into a wider war in the Middle East, while 13% are not concerned. (Quinnipiac)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) went on a profane rant against members of her staff after an audio recording of her alleged tirade hit the Internet.
Said Lee: “I don’t want you to do a goddamn thing. I want you to have a fucking brain. I want you to have read it. I want you to say ‘Congresswoman, with such and such date.’ That’s what I want. That’s the kind of staff that I want to have.”
She continued: “So some stupid other motherfucker did it. And, and I don’t have the information. Nobody sent me the information. I need to ensure schedule and, uh, you know, if Boo Boo did it, shitass did it, fuckface did it. And nobody knows a goddamn thing in my office! Okay? Nothing!”
Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said that Donald Trump is the “single most dangerous threat” the country faces, USA Today reports.
Said Cheney: “He cannot be the next president. If he is, all of the things he attempted to do, but was stopped from doing by responsible people around him at the Department of Justice, at the White House counsel’s office, all of those things he will do. There will be no guardrails.”
She added: “I think Donald Trump is the single most dangerous threat we face.”